I’ve never had what it is now the custom to call a “bucket list.” I’m pretty sure this is because I’m not one to think in terms of long-range goals. Don’t be bored has always been my Prime Directive, and when you look at life that way, you tend not to plan very far ahead. I don’t know whether that’s a characteristic bias of the journalist, who jumps from story to story, or a point of view more specific to me. Whatever the reason, it’s the way I operate: I take things as they come.
After I wrote this posting, though, I asked myself whether there really were any particular things I wanted to do before I died, and pretty soon I had my very own bucket list. Here it is:
• Visit the Grand Canyon
• Make one last concerted attempt to read all of Charles Dickens’ major novels
• Own an etching by Giorgio Morandi
• Go to England (amazingly, I never have)
• Direct a play by someone else
• Take a river cruise
• Review a completely satisfying revival of Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw
• Drive from coast to coast without an itinerary, preferably in an RV
• Teach more
If that strikes you as a pretty modest list, I can only agree. But, then, my life until now has been so full of extraordinary occurrences—most of them utterly unexpected, at least by me—that I must confess to being, if not exactly content, then at least reasonably happy with the way things have gone so far. Small-town boys, after all, are raised to have realistic expectations, and while Mrs. T thinks that this attitude may have inhibited me in the past, my own feeling is that it’s served me well. Certainly it’s characteristic of me that all of the items on the above list are at least doable, and that most of them are in fact perfectly plausible…about which more, I hope, later!